Annual dog-meat festival begins in China amidst opposition
June 21, Beijing: An annual dog meat festival has begun in the China’s southern city, amid widespread domestic and international opposition calling for an end to the slaughter and eating animals.
About 10,000 dogs and cats are expected to be killed and eaten during the controversial 10-day festival in Yulin, which started on Tuesday.
Animal rights activists this month handed Beijing authorities a petition with 11 million signatures protesting the festival.
The local government said that the festival does not have official backing but is staged by private businesses.
The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival sees people gathering in Yulin to sample dog meat hotpot, lychee fruits and local liquor.
A tradition of eating dog meat dates back some 500 years in China, South Korea and other countries, where many believe it wards off the heat in summer months, reports said.
However the Yulin festival, celebrated during the summer solstice, is a relatively new one, beginning only in recent years.
Residents and vendors in Yulin say the animals are killed in a humane way. But critics say animals are killed brutally and publicly, and are sometimes beaten to death or cooked while still alive.
According to media reports, selling dog meat for human consumption is legal in China, with an estimated 10 million dogs killed for human consumption every year.
The Oslo Times International News Network